Usually, I’m not fond of musicals, so trust me when I say that we have a talented bunch here at Newcastle University. The NUTS new production was fun, well paced, and brilliantly acted. Decoration was simple but effective, and perfectly set the mood. Together with the absolutely amazing band, it conveyed a message clear to everyone who entered the stage audience - you are no longer in Northern Stage, you are in New York.
“Company” is a story of Bobby who on his 35th birthday is still a bachelor. Together with his friends (five married couples) and three girlfriends, he contemplates his status and tries to remedy it. The cast were all excellent actors, singers and dancers and sometimes it was hard to believe that we weren’t really in Broadway. Having said that, the highlight of the show was Amy’s (Rachel Smith) solo, and the funniest element of the play was the face of the conductor when she wrested the baton out of his hand and threw it at the audience. Joanne (Izzy Carlin) also deserves a mention as her blasé attitude towards everything including her own husband stole the hearts of the audience.
I realize that the screenplay is not original and the play is from the 70s, but the feminist in me can’t overlook the reinforcement of stereotypical gender roles and family values. As one of the actors said: “everyone has to marry somebody.” Just leave poor Bobby alone! He has devoted friends, great career, a few peculiar girlfriends and a nice apartment in New York. Do they need to force him into marriage? Also I believe that in modern productions we can find another things other than hysterical female characters that the humor can revolve around.
Now that I have it out of my system, forget that little ranting fragment. “Company” is a brilliant production and the songs will be stuck in my day for weeks to come.